Monday 28 May 2018

The second coming

Siobhan O'Dowd's children
Siobhan O'Dowd's children

And then there were two. We welcomed baby Will to the world almost four weeks ago. In that four weeks, in numbers:

● Attempts on his life by his one-year-old sister by climbing on him (all motivated by love but when you're a significantly bigger unit, love can hurt): too many to count.

● Nappies changed: billions. One of the things nature makes you forget in order to encourage reproduction is the many, many nappies a newborn goes through.

● People peed on: four. My husband John was the first victim and was more impressed by the circumference of the arc than irritated at the clothes change, and this happened twice. I suspect the GP was less impressed when it happened at the two-week check-up. The other victim was resigned to it as an occupational hazard.

● Kilos gained in first three weeks: Will x 2. The GP had to weigh him twice, expressing disbelief. The public health nurse didn't bother to weigh him as he was "clearly thriving".

● Chins: Will x 3 - see above.

● Gina Ford routines started: three

● Gina Ford routines aborted: three

● Average hours of continuous sleep a night: two

● Completion level of any task: 80pc. I can never seem to be able press 'send' on a text, remember to put the laundry into the dryer, or to turn off the oven.

As to what does Charlotte, our older daughter makes of it all? I think at 14 months, she's too small to be jealous. She is doing the baby equivalent of 'jazz hands' to get attention alright, but post C-section, my folks and John's mum have been great for helping and most of that has been Charlotte-related so she's been love-bombed from all sides. She is mad for hugging and kissing the baby, but has a tendency to try to jam his dummy into his eye socket, sit on him, or try to feed him whatever she is eating.

It's funny, the first baby turns your world upside-down. The second one just has to have a landing spot out of reach of the first one. And having survived the pregnancy, the birth, Christmas and the first four weeks, maternity leave now looms large. Not knowing any other mammies in Galway, this has the potential to be zero craic and so, the plan for the next few weeks is to hit 'the circuit' and basically go to the opening of a baby-envelope. The breast-feeding support group? Tick. Baby Sensory, Waterbabies and Baby Body Fit? Tick, tick and tick. The alternative is laundry, hoovering, making endless Annabel Karmel baby meals for freezing, a dangerous proximity to the fridge, and clock watching for John to come home.

I reckon maternity leave is what you make it. The last time, I was late out of the starting blocks to realise that. This time, I want to enjoy it, and use the time to get to know Will, hang out with Charlotte, meet new people and get a handle on 'the new normal'. There's always a dishwasher to be emptied, a laundry load to do and a sitting room to be tidied, so if I get a better offer, I am going to take it this time around.

Having perfected loading up the double buggy, the two babies and the dog and hitting the road, I'm ready when you are!

With the arrival of her new baby four weeks ago, Siobhan O'Dowd is determined to make the most of her maternity leave this time around

Irish Independent

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